Someone once told me “There are no coincidences with God.”
by Deanne Baum
During the last week I have been acutely aware of four separate instances where the rain has pelted down, just as I jumped inside my car. On the first occasion I said a big thank you to God. Upon the second occasion I reiterated with a big smile on my face. However, on the third occasion, I laughed out loud, because I was taken from deep sadness to lightheartedness knowing that our Father is intently watching us. Some may think these are all just coincidences. I was tempted to think this way on the first occasion too. But four times in one week? I knew without a doubt that God was being a great friend to me by helping and comforting me.
The first two occasions were just normal everyday occurrences, where I had left the building at work to walk a short distance to my parked car. Nothing really seemed remarkable about that. The third occasion, however, bears further explanation.
I think we can get too bogged down in the immediate day-to-day issues of life such as work, duties, and commitments; so much so that our focus becomes concentrated on what is right before our eyes. This leaves us focused on “necessary” things, but we may tend to put spiritual matters to one side, only later resuming prayer or communication with our Father.
Other’s attitudes can deflate our built-up expectations
For a couple of weeks I had known about someone very close to me having a planned procedure carried out in the hospital. The scheduled operation meant that only one night in the hospital would be necessary, but still the operation required a general anesthetic and they would be in some pain and need a little time to recover. I went about collecting and purchasing items to make up a goody basket to take to the hospital. It made me happy to think about bringing such a surprise and how it would surely be excitedly received. I rang first to make sure I could visit and that all had gone well. My plans were to stay for about one hour.
However, when I arrived the person was more involved in watching TV and barely made eye contact with me. Their language contained many words I am no longer used to hearing and was disrespectful. I sat there for about ten minutes in silence and then asked if they would prefer I left. Their response, stated unkindly, was that I could please myself. I inquired as to if there was a lot of pain and was told “No, I’m enjoying the medications they gave me and have no pain”. I was so upset and shocked, instead of being shown gratitude for a visit and the gifts provided, I instead was given a very inattentive and disrespectful attitude. The visit was far from what I had anticipated! After I said, “I love you.” I left.
I wanted to break down immediately and had to fight back the tears. I managed to hold on until I found my way out of the maze of long corridors joining the new part of the hospital to the old. Once outside in the fresh air I was about to cry but some people were nearby. I walked past them down to where I parked my car. It was only a 5 minute walk. Opening the car door, I allowed myself to unleash the floodgates. Tears welled up and before they could hit the steering wheel, the heavens opened, and the rain pelted down. Immediately my tears vanished and I suddenly burst into laughter at how God can turn my mood from one of despair and a broken heart, to one of such lightheartedness that I no longer felt sad. How does He do that? I was ready to cry myself silly until there were no tears to cry.
Our Father is always ready to comfort us
My homeward journey could have been one of deep sadness and despair but instead it was a contemplative journey talking about all that had happened prior to having my feelings hurt. It caused me to think of other occasions when I have had pure intentions and another had said some things which were hurtful to me. Immediately my Father turned the situation from tears to laughter. He used humor and a blessing on each of all of these occasions. The vision of my tears being replaced by the rain falling from on high really identified with my sense of humor. God is so specific and the timing is down to the second.
I certainly do not have it within me to switch from feelings of despair one moment to a completely different attitude of “everything is fine despite what just happened” the next moment. As a human, I need time to heal. I need to take everything to God and we work through it together. Most of the time it is like this for me, while at other times I have a complete change of outlook due to God’s unanticipated direct intervention. My Father certainly deserves all the credit for this. What a loving and caring Father we all have!
In Luke 12:7 we can see “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows”. This is such a reassuring scripture to inform us that God knows everything about us, and values us, even if others do not. God is being very specific with us, so that we will be comforted and appreciate His attention to the precise details, whether known to us or not.
Lessons learned when confronted with the unexpected
I could have stayed at the hospital and visited for longer, but prudence told me that things could get a lot worse. I weighed the situation and left while I had my self-control intact. Our perfect example is that of Jesus Christ. In Hebrews 12:3 we are told “For consider him who endured such hostility from sinners against himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls”. These words are of great comfort to our hearts and have such benefit upon reflection and meditation. Let’s continue to follow Paul’s words in Galatians 6:9-10 where he so aptly urges us, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith”.
In this world, we are living our lives and going about our Father’s business. Take comfort from the words found in Psalm 126:5 “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy”. In Revelation 21:4 we read, “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away”.
Many of you are suffering and many of you have family members and loved ones who no longer want to have any relationship with you. This is extremely painful, I know. Take one day at a time and hold the comforting words in the Bible close – the very words God is directly speaking to each and every one of us. In 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 God is speaking through the apostle Paul: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we can comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we are comforted by God”. I know it is easy to say but the reality is that one day (which will be here before we realize it) we will no longer sigh and cry but instead have all these broken or dysfunctional relationships restored. We can all hold on together knowing that our Father intervenes with blessings along the way to comfort and encourage us.
The following scriptures may also be of comfort to you in times of distress and sadness. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18). And, lastly, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).
When the going gets tough, think of how much suffering Jesus the Christ went through for us. Remember that God our Father suffered also as He watched His only begotten son suffer and die.